“I’ve been everywhere man,”- the famous words of Johnny Cash. Throughout my life, I have seen the tall, snow-capped mountains in the Rockies and the beautiful, black sand beaches of Hawaii. I have seen fog cover the city of San Francisco and Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone. I have seen the chaos that is Paris and Big Ben on the hottest day in London.
Thankfully, I was blessed with parents who work hard and give their children all they can. One of the many gifts they have given me was the ability to travel. Traveling has eased the pains I have experienced growing up and shaped me into a well-rounded person.
When life gets hard, take a trip! The new landscape and presence of people will make you forget. I’m not saying run away from your problems, but maybe reevaluate life and then come back to what is normal. Traveling teaches people lessons they would not learn anywhere else. As much as you like to forget, there is a lot more out there then Mayfield, Ohio. Seeing new cultures and the way people live can put your problems into perspective. Yeah, maybe your boyfriend did dump you after a year but you still have food and water while 783 million people do not.
The mountains taught me that even when our problems seem impossible and everything hurts, take a hike, live in a tent, and push yourself to feel something. Last summer, as I sat on a rocky ledge and stared at Longs Peak, I knew there would be more to life than what was now. The mountains called my name and urged me to keep pushing harder because it may take time but you’ll get there. I mean if it was possible that something so insanely beautiful was made and continues to stand tall, so can I. The people of Hawaii taught me to hang loose. All my life I have seen people so uptight and afraid to be themselves, but their people lived for the ocean, the flowers, and the feeling of happiness. Okay, it may suck that it costs $5 for a gallon of milk, but not being constantly afraid of what really living could do is worth it.
All my life I’ve wanted to be happy. I have wanted to run away from all the pain and anger and sadness that are buried deep inside. I’ve wanted to find a place where I’ve felt content to live and strive without the constant demons eating away at my core. Traveling helps me find that place. The place where I can be okay and I can be distant without the worry of what’s wrong. Traveling helps me realize all the possibilities out there for me. I’m not always going to be 17 years old but it shows me to take advantage of what time I have left.
Being in Yellowstone showed me how a place filled with nature could be ruined so fast by the human population. During my trip there, I was told that only about 1% of the people that visit Yellowstone actually go hiking on the trails. There is so much more to that place than the gift shops filled with hundreds of shirts that pronounce the oldest national park in the United States. If you actually got the chance to go off-road, you would get to experience hot springs right in front of you. There was the constant fear that one wrong step would crack the hollow ground and send you into boiling hot water but we accepted the challenge. If people didn’t waste their time spending $40 on a sweatshirt of a bison, they would be perfectly fulfilled with the sights nature has to offer. Appreciate the world, there is only one.
A lot of people look at the world like it is a horrible place filled with too much terror for anything to ever be okay. But, you have to look at the beautiful things like the way sand feels in-between your toes or taking a deep breath of fresh air. The world can solve your problems. It puts things into perspective or shows you that new perspective you need to continue to push yourself. Life isn’t perfect but a person becomes single-minded when they constantly are subjugated to the same environment every day. They don’t get to see the everyday diversity that is present throughout the world and what keeps humans constantly moving forward to bigger and better things. The world is a complicated place and sometimes being alive hurts but never forget the moments that you never thought you could be more alive. Those are the moments you never forget. Live. Breathe. Love.